7/10
Bloody brilliant. The definitive film of the genre--Cheap, gory low-budget campy Serial Slashers
19 March 2007
by Dane Youssef

Rob Zombie is without a doubt one of the most versatile and true-to-his-genre artists out there. "The Devil's Rejects" is the kind of movie uptight censors and worried parents always warned you was gonna get made some day.

A movie where the leads are psychopathic murderers, the violence is excess and the gore is so voluminous, that you have to ask: "Does this movie satirize this kind of sadism... or celebrate it? Is it a fun campy parody... or a sign that we may have gone too far with our ultra-violent-based entertainment?" This movie actually defines the term "overkill." Three of the more interesting deranged killers from "House Of 1000 Corpses" get their own spin-off in the "Frasier" or "Jeffersons" tradition. The three, who are a family, actually (a father and his son and daughter) go on a mass killing spree and are racing out of the country to legal freedom on the other side of the border. They seem to echo the Manson Family.

Their sense of humor is the kind of acquired taste like the movie itself has. It stems from the experience you'd get from... watching slasher movies throughout a lot of your life. Like lime green Jell-O, anchovies, fish eggs and black licorice, this is not for all tastes.

The movie is actually a lot smarter and more complex than you might imagine, if you're unfamiliar with what Zombie's movies are about. It's akin to films like "From Dusk 'Til Dawn," "Vulgar," "Desperado" and "Freaked." If you like these types of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Friday the 13th" re-vamping in the video-geek traditions, here is a movie you may hold up as one for the history books. The dialogue is written a twisted brilliant way and the direction has a real retro-'70's homey-quality to it. In a way that doesn't feel contrived.

Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon are all so perfectly demented in their roles, you have to wonder what they're like in real life. You pray they're nothing like they are here... and hope you never come across anyone remotely like this either.

Sheri Moon, wife of director Zombie, looks more like a typical American model-actress than the degenerate rank-skank she plays here. Moseley is real-life, was actually a columnist and Heig often played scuzzy thugs, but played the judge in Tarantino's "Jackie Brown."

I find it incredibly strange that some people seem to be COMPLAINING that the pursuing cop character (the sheriff, John Quincy Wydell) is as sadistic and mentally unbalanced as the family killers themselves. Why?

Yes, he is. But... why?

Why is that a bad thing? In any way at all?

Look, if there's anything history and government have taught us, it's that it takes one to catch one. Not just in the movies, but in life. And not just in real life, but in movies as well. You see, it's not just an opinion. It's a fact. It's the way of the world.

People... do we all not remember Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive"? His I-Will-Catch-him-By-Any-Means-Nessicary-Law Enforcer way was one of the true milestones in the movie, and it got him an Oscar. Would we want any of the other major characters to be far less interesting than the leads?

When you eat a meal of any kind, you don't just want a rich main course and the side dishes to be as tasteless as styraphone. You want a whole meal you can taste.

And the stuff with the sheriff and the rest of the cops IS something to see. Why? Because he isn't any kind of undeveloped character. Zombie made him (and everything else) just as big, broad, colorful and energetic as the '70's genre that this one stems from.

There's some humor with the Kentucky-Fried Sheriff and the rest of his "Good Ol' Boys" in Blue. It goes without saying that in a small town, the cops are all red-necked. The way the stereotype of the small-town cop in a campy-slasher pic is handled with more laughs than usual. And there's a great moment where they call in a specialist, a film historian (see: uber film geek) to help them with the investigation and this film critic.... well, suffice to say, he insults the name of God in the house of the Lord and that's all I'm gonna say.

We all know Zombie is a neo-talent outside of the music biz. He did the LSD effect in "Beavis & Butthead Do America."

The end may justify the means, in this case. The hick cops and the colorful killers... in the end, it's an ending we all knew we deserved.

Speaking of Zombie, his film debut "House of 1000 Corpses," was a film I found to be embarrassingly bad. I'm a fan of those types of rock-horror camp movies in the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "House Of Wax" vein. SEVERED vein, in this case. But everything was played out so campy, so cheaply, so maudlin, so without suspense... that Zombie, I felt, made a movie that seems to be an insult, rather than a tribute to those horror-show camp classics.

But he's redeemed himself with this one. He's working without a net and it all could have gone horribly, pathetically wrong. So I give him props. BIG, BIG PROPS.

As I'm writing this now, he's currently re-making "Halloween." Though I wish he wouldn't, really. Why re-paint the Mona Lisa? Give it eyebrows, what? Will that REALLY be an improvement?

Brace yourself. Not for all tastes. Procceed with caution. Use extreme care.

NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED, SQUEAMISH, PRUDISH... OR TOO MORAL.

by Dane Youssef
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